In public relations, like many other disciplines, there are leaders and followers. There are generalists and specialists; strategists and tacticians. There are those who engage in social media and want to be on the leading edge and offer it to clients nascent in their understanding. There are practitioners seasoned and mid-level hanging on for dear life to the apron strings of traditional public relations, hoping to stave off the inevitable.
We’re in the early stages of a public relations boom.
“Employment of public relations specialists is expected to grow 24 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. The need for good public relations in an increasingly competitive and global business environment should spur demand…,” says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook 2010-2011.
At any given moment, among the some 1 million people working in public relations today (a Google 2003 stat had our profession at 600,000 to 800,000), there are extremes of experience, expertise and capabilities. No surprise.
Throughout my career, folks have appreciated putting public relations under the spotlight – pointing fingers at the ineptitude that inevitably embarrasses us all. Some of my favorites – we “can’t write,” we blast journalists with the same pitch then call to ask “did you get my press release?”
You can read the impressively credentialed brand strategist Valeria Maltoni’s negative opinions on Conversation Agent about the Four Reasons Public Relations Agencies are Failing in Social Media. The post comments bring to life the two extremes – marketers who judge generally the caliber, expertise and ROI of PR and agencies defending our position.
Unfortunately, as a strategist, leader and 100 percent adopter of social media to enhance my public relations offering, my exasperation about these blanket generalizations is par for the course. (I’m sure there’s a Pareto Principle stat that applies here somehow.)
Nothing has changed for 26 years in this regard except my passion for public relations is solidified daily; we are a stronger discipline; we are invited to the table earlier; we are fueling and leading campaign strategy with marketing in step; and, the incredible opportunity social media brings to program development makes our field one of the most exciting in which to work.
So why the doubt? Good public relations. I know from experience public relations, when done well and supported by sound strategy, contributes to attainment of business goals with measurable ROI. We need more good PR to squash the conversation about those among us doing it poorly.
I’m all in; anyone else along for the ride?